The Bible reveals a mind boggling history between a people and their God. Stories abound that chronicle both the negative and positive interactions among a people, their God, and their neighbors. Some stories rise to epic heights and Hollywood creates movies to capture there grandeur, i.e. “The Ten Commandments.” Other stories depict the people at their worst and are often told infrequently or in low budget fashion. These stories are found in what is called The Old Testament or Hebrew Bible.
Generations later the New Testament also reveals this people’s history with this God. Yet this new history devotes itself to the influence and ideals of one person. This New Testament links the history of this people by purporting what is called a “progressive revelation.” In other words, from Genesis to Revelation all roads lead to Jesus of Nazareth.
John concludes “This was written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Everyone who was someone wrote about Jesus. Luke opens his story by saying, “Many have attempted to write about what had taken place among us. They received their information from those who had been eyewitnesses and servants of God’s word from the beginning, and they passed it on to us. I, too, have followed everything closely from the beginning. So I thought it would be a good idea to write an orderly account for Your Excellency, Theophilus. In this way you will know that what you’ve been told is true.”
Luke’s story is not the only story; however, it is a good story. I recommend it to you. Luke clearly announces that Jesus is the main thesis of the Bible: his lineage, his life, his purpose, and his triumph. That is why one can not read the Bible and leave unaffected: when you put down the Bible a decision is required. And as Moses said, “I set before you life and death, choose life that you and your children may live.”
“Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far” ( Philippians 3:13-16 GWT).
Maturity recognizes the role God has played in one’s life. It acknowledges that God’s gift of life does not come without struggle, setbacks, and stress. Notwithstanding, maturity learns from each experience, taking each lesson and using it to propel his or her life further along its chosen path. A mature person fails forward using failure as a guide for what not to do.
Paul realized his past could not be used as a bench upon which to sit. Despite past success and failure, his life was not complete. Paul determined to exceed expectations and set his life on a course to achieve more. Maturity reaches for the furthest galaxy, decides to climb the highest mountain, and traverse the widest ocean. Maturity seeks its best self, never settling for mediocrity. Paul set goals impossible to achieve without the help of Christ and others.
Paul refused to be limited by his past, broke numerous barriers, and had the testimony of a well spent life. I urge you to challenge yourself to greatness. You have God’s life within you; you can achieve more than you think!
Ah, the joys of youth. Nothing compares to the adventures of the immature. Obstinate, idealistic, passionate, and reckless. The approach to life is filled with risk taking.
Every discovery of life seems perfect, right, and noble. When the immature commit to a cause look out world. Their exuberance and zeal knows no bounds. They will “leap over tall buildings in a single bound” so to speak.
Then life happens; life confronts their worldview. Life challenges their ideology and tests their resolve. Not everything remains certain; doubts, second guessing creeps in. New information, new experiences cools their passion and tempers their critique of the world. Humility sets in and the realization that other perspectives can be valid allows wisdom and maturity to appear. This is a frightening time of growth, but necessary nonetheless.
Maturity calmly admits: “Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete. But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways (1 Corinthians 13:9-11).”